1997 Volkswagen Golf K2 2.0 from North America


I will drive this car until it goes to heaven, and then I will probably rebuild it!


At 72000 miles the airbag light began flashing on and off periodically. It happens more often during the winter when the heat is on. It is also compounded when I take a rough road, so I'd imagine that it is a bad connection, hopefully in the warning light panel, and not in the airbag system itself. I have not taken it to the dealership because I have reliable sources that have explained that it is not a danger.

At 75k miles the upper rubber hose that connect to the PCV valve literally blew in half during an aggressive downshift.

Driver's seat, left bottom bolster detached and sank very early on in the car's life (maybe 10k miles?)

Fuba antenna deteriorated badly around the 30k mile mark. This is a common problem for rust belt drivers.

Exhaust rusted through just before the muffler at around 73k miles, but was easily replaced with an aftermarket (cat back) system for around $200.

I can do much of my own work on the car, so I have not had to take it in to the local dealer to have them fix it. I have worked for dealerships in the past and can confidently say that they are in the business to take advantage of folks who do not have mechanical knowledge, and take their money. Find a mechanic that you can trust who specializes in the car that you own, and use that person for any service not covered under warranty.

Several very minor rust bubbles have started to appear. I didn't notice them until a close inspection of the paint after washing. These are mostly at the bottom of the doors, and under the hatch release button. They are typical of a car of this age, and easily fixed.

General Comments:

Over all, this 2.0 K2 Golf has been an excellent car. The extras (moon roof, heated seats-mirrors-washer nozzles) have continued to work perfectly for 7 years and 75k+ miles.

Oil consumption is very low for a car at this point in it's life, and except for the very few problems mentioned above, it's been a great buy.

Being informed about checking fluids, brakes, and tire wear has saved me thousands of dollars with this, and every other VW that I've owned.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th March, 2004

13th Mar 2004, 07:11

The only things that I realized that I left out were the one replacement on the front brake pads at 43k miles. This cost me about $40, and work was easily done in my driveway. Upon last inspection I will need new front pads and rotors at 76k miles, and it will cost me about $120 to do the work myself.

25 or so oil changes have averaged about $6 per job for regular 10/30 oil and a filter.

Replaced the wiper blades three times so far as well.

$50 for a K&N air filter at first replacement. This is a lifetime filter that you can clean, so it's not only cost effective, but also much better than the paper filters.

New tires were needed at 50k miles. About $210 for all season Dunlop rubber.

About $700 in replacement parts (my labor) over a 7 year period.

31st Jul 2007, 12:50

You should not use K&N filter. It only filters out 97% of the dust particles versus 99% for paper filters.

Using K&N will result in faster engine wear.

24th Dec 2009, 11:16

I own a 97 Golf k2, 1.8l though, very good car, very easy fuel consumption, with 250k on it and still has the power it would have had from day 1.

As for K&N air filters, they are better than the average filters. As for 97% filter ratio as opposed to 99%, never heard of that before.

1997 Volkswagen Golf from North America


A fun car that thrives on curvy roads at high speeds, with annoying electrical issues


Speedometer/Odometer works sporadically.

Gas gauge works sporadically.

Bad fuel injector.

Erratic sensor lights.

Molding falling off.

Broken automatic door lock.

Broken head gasket cover.

General Comments:

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the way my Golf drives and handles. It's fun and it has some kick to it. It's almost seven years old and it still drives well.

I bought the car when it was three years old. Most of the above problems were covered under a used car warranty and were fixed by the dealership at which I bought the car.

However, there are still a few outstanding annoyances which I cannot seem to get fixed, no matter where I take the car for service. The speedometer, odometer, and gas gauge continue to give me problems. They only work sporadically, literally working one minute and then not working the next minute. It's very frustrating. I will watch the gas gauge go from half full to empty to full within seconds. I never really know how much gas I have or how fast I'm going. Somehow, I've learned how to mentally gauge approximately how fast I'm going and have never gotten a ticket for speeding. I've become paranoid and obsessive about filling up my gas tank as often as possible and so have only run out of gas twice (totally embarrassing).

Every time I've taken my car in to be looked at for these problems, the gauges start working, and therefore the problem cannot be diagnosed.

The sensor lights (check engine/airbags/etc) are constantly going on and off. I've grown tired of taking my car in every time the "check engine" light comes on. They diagnose my car and tell me nothing is wrong. And sure enough, a couple of days later, the light will shut off.

I really wish someone could figure out the problem.

I don't even want to talk about the side molding that keeps falling off and I've re-glued about 100 times.

Other than these extremely annoying inconveniences, the car has been pretty reliable. I've spent money mostly on general maintenance (tires/brakes/battery).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th January, 2004

24th Feb 2005, 21:45

I have similar problems with my Golf's speedometer. Has anyone replied with suggestions for repair?

1st Mar 2005, 14:21

I have had good success getting the molding back on and staying on with 3M double sided tape. I don't have the model number handy, but it is 1" wide and 1/16" thick, and has a green and white plaid pattern on the peel away covering. Clean off all old glue and tape from both the doors and the molding. A utility knife razor blade is OK with the molding if you are careful not to gouge the plastic (pretty soft stuff). A green dish scrub pad works great on the doors, although it will scratch the clear coat, so stay within the part that will be covered by the trim. Wash the molding and the car with warm water and dish soap, rinse thoroughly and dry. When all the gunk is off of both surfaces, wipe lightly with denatured alcohol to remove any residual grease and soap. I cut the tape in half (width) and use 1/2" strips on top and bottom of molding. Place the molding back on the car starting at the hinge side of the door, and working back towards the latch. If the molding is twisted from being stored in a weird configuration (like under some stuff in your trunk for several months), leave it out in the sun prior to applying the tape. It will be more manageable. A friend is good to have around to hold the molding firmly to the door's surface as you work down it's length. I've done this to all the door molding, and the tape held up even after my neighbor sideswiped the passenger door. Tape works best when ambient temperature is above 65 degrees farenheit. Good luck.